Feb.10 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Bernie Ecclestone is working on a contingency plan in case the F1 grid continues to dwindle.

If Marussia’s bid to return this year should fail, the pitlane looks set to house just nine teams in 2015.

And with other teams including Force India, Sauber and even Lotus thought to be stretched financially, there is a risk the grid could fall below 16 cars in the near future.

One oft-touted solution is three-car teams, but according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, F1 supremo Ecclestone is working on another fix to boost grid numbers.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt claims Ecclestone quietly prefers the idea of a “second division” for the pinnacle of motor sport, “with 2013 Red Bulls and Mecachrome V8 engines”.

Originally, Ecclestone’s touted idea was for a sort of ‘Super GP2′, featuring cars from the feeder series with more powerful engines.

But Schmidt said the 84-year-old Briton’s new idea is to attract entrants for his second division with a EUR 15 million startup package.

“The former F1 team boss Colin Kolles would prepare the base as the 2013 Red Bull chassis. The V8 engine would be produced by Flavio Briatore at Mecachrome,” the Auto Motor und Sport report reads.

Schmidt said the initial proposal was rejected by Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren at last Thursday’s strategy group meeting in Paris.